You can count on kids to be brutally honest, especially when the honor of their favorite online videos is at stake.

I admit, I’m unfamiliar with what little white lies parents tell their children to stop them staring at screens all the time — but when I was a kid it was “your eyes will turn square”. This always struck me as a pretty weird thing to warn against. So what if they did turn square? All my friends were watching the same amount of TV as me, so we’d all have square eyes together.

It’s even harder now for children to resist the allure of tablet, phone and computer screens, especially since each of these devices can run YouTube. Japanese kids are just as eager to keep up with the latest unboxing videos and funny guys playing video games, and YouTube promises an endless stream of this exact content: for free!

▼ A sample of the delightful kid-targeted content on Japanese YouTube

Some parents are suspicious of this carefully curated kid content, like Twitter user @manomiya37. He decided it was time to give his son a little advice about his watching habits:

“I warned my eldest son, a fourth grader in elementary school: ‘If all you ever watch are your favorite YouTube videos, your point of view will become limited and narrow.’ He immediately retorted, ‘So were you trying to get smarter all those times you just stared at whatever the TV’s playing?’ It felt like he blasted my head right off my shoulders.”

Plenty of commenters were delighted with @manomiya37’s son’s wit, declaring that he’d already proven that he was canny enough to watch all the YouTube he likes. Other parents with YouTube-obsessed children commiserated with the woe-begotten father instead, condemning YouTube and also wishing him a speedy recovery from having his head blasted off.

Other replies dug deeper into the philosophy of the original argument. @manomiya37’s position seemed to be that watching lots of varied content, rather than only the videos you like, is a good way to broaden one’s horizons; his son’s implicit stance is that watching these things is for entertainment, not education. Most of the responses were somewhere in the middle:

“Whatever you watch, it’s not the ‘watching’ that’s the important part. It’s thinking about what you see.”
“Neither of them make you smarter! LOL! Way to bury the lede!”
“I think you’re right though, watching whatever is on the screen without being picky exposes you to a lot of different viewpoints. It’s like how you broaden your horizons by browsing a book store and looking at the shelves, rather than just buying whatever Amazon recommends to you. It’s just an issue of whether you’re a more active person or a more passive person.”
“We’re fine without TV altogether. We can tell what’s happening in the world because of social media.”

Several commenters took a third option and implored both father and son to try reading a book instead, which might make a fun change of pace from all that screen time…depending on how you go about reading it.

Source: Twitter/@manomiya37 via Hachima Kikou
Top image: Pakutaso

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